This has been a funny week or so for the ‘Travel Blogger’ world. We had another occurrence of the revenue discussion appear when Drew from Travel is Free mentioned ‘selling out’. Travel Blogger Buzz went on to explore things further on this topic, and conversations got a bit heated in the comments. The problem, again, is affiliate links.
I wasn’t going to chime in on this as a post, because there is enough drama already out there, but yesterday I saw a great post by my esteemed colleague Joe from asthejoeflies talking about 0% cards. Here’s the post. In it, Joe discusses 7 credit cards. The final one being the DiscoverIT card. What you (and perhaps Joe) doesn’t realize is that he has an affiliate link for that DiscoverIT card. He could have smoothly slipped it into the post, especially with it being the final one under discussion. That was a layup post.
I did think to give him a nudge and say ‘hey – you DO know you could have slipped the link in there right? But then I thought further, hence this post. What would have happened if the final link in that post had been an Affiliate link? Would the savvy reader spot this, and would they then devalue the entire post as an attempt to make money? If the link paid a commission, what really changed?
If you go to read the extensive comments over on the Travel is Free post you will see a consistent message by Drew: “Judge me on my content.” Would the content of Joe’s post have changed if the hyperlink had contained tracking codes that kicked back a payment?
PS – here is my link to the DiscoverIT card it’s a great 0% card, you can see Joe’s review to confirm that 🙂 It pays me a commission, and I feel like a very naughty person for daring to include it in this post. Please, only apply for it if you can handle your finances, and there may be better offers out there (I saw an ad on Amazon recently for one with an $100 Amazon GC too)
Lol. I knew I had it. But since I felt it was a post that might cause people to take unnecessary risk I didn’t want to have a conflict of interest. I don’t mind making money off affiliate links, but just didn’t want to in that particular post. If anyone feels compelled to use my link I am happy to share – PM. Haha.
Yeah, its weird to put links in posts, but you might well have encouraged that risk regardless of the commission..
For sure. In the end people are adults and have to be responsible for their own decisions. If it was a card I felt more strongly about I probably would have used my link (say Arrival+ or something). Who knows! Just trying to figure it out and making it up as I go along
As long as you are honest in your evaluation of the cards in your post (don’t skew info to the link card when something else is clearly better) and point out the affiliate link I don’t see why anyone should care. I think what stirs folks up is when someone pulls a milevalue. I read Drew’s post and comments and I don’t get why he doesn’t see that that is the issue. Drew sounds offended that people even suggest that he might do that but if I recall correctly milevalue was a blogger like Drew where everyone was complementing his content.
Kathy (Will Run For Miles) says
I will have a post today on the Discover It card too. I also debated on whether to include my affiliate link or the amazon link, or none at all. I will include my affiliate link, but at the bottom of the post, and clearly marked. If anyone is considering the amazon promo for the Discover card, I’d suggest they read over the comments in Amazon. Seems lots of people have a hard time actually getting the promised gift card.
I like it- you can put your own link in and sow the fear that using the Amazon link may not give you the $100… something like “Use MY link – we guarantee no hassles in getting your $100 because you get no soup” 🙂
Kathy (Will Run For Miles) says
No, I wouldn’t put two links in – though I have links for the Discover card and for Amazon. My post (which will be up later) isn’t really a promotion of the card, just more a vignette of sorts. It dawned on me after I wrote it that I had a link and so, I simply put a link in at the end in case anyone is thinking of getting the card and wants to use my link. I never will promote anything unless I believe its worthwhile (like the Amazon Goldbox deal for the Garmin version of the Fitbit I posted about today). So far, practically the only commissions I’ve earned from my affiliate links are ones I’ve used myself.
That’s actually a popular technique that I have seen on blogs or other cards, “There is an expired link on the internet (that waives the annual fee or has a bigger bonus ) that has reportedly worked for some people, it may or may not work for you if you want to take a chance. My link works for sure.”
Kathy (Will Run For Miles) says
actually, a good course with the Discover It card might be to wait and see if Discover runs a new direct promotion. Then again, if someone wants the card for one of the current quarterly categories, s/he might not want to wait. Even better, you can do what I did, but that’s YMMV!
Don’t make me censor your comments…
Mr. Riggles says
I’ve been really happy to see all of these intense discussions over affiliate links and blogger ethics over the past few months. I think it’s important that people continue to call practices out that they feel is shady, unethical, or just plain douchey in the miles/points blogging community.
@Joe & Matt,
Bored in Bulgari airport waiting for my flight to Romania, I thought to chime in….Joe and Matt I read and enjoy your blogs very much and personally have no problem if you put a link in there that brings in money. Your content is excellent and you seem to have a moral compass with disclaimers.
A MS things I took issue with was a promo that I believe got you 7500 miles if you test drove a Caddy??? I look at this as wasting a salesperson’s time who is trying to sell cars to make a living while people are just there for the miles. I do not know if I am getting this right but if I am this is how I feel. I know it is strange what bothers each of us.
As for MS in general, I find unless I can do it from home, it is real simple like VR, or 20 minute easy walk to Target, I am going for the most part stick to sign up bonuses for me and the wife. When I began to compute my time with some MS stuff, I found that buying the miles when there is a promotion was not much more expensive. I guess it is all how you put a cost per hour on your time.
Time to board, hope my spelling came out ok…
I didn’t do the 7500 miles thing, not worth my time.
But by the same token, I’m the type of guy who if I had done it for the points, I might have bought a car, so it’s hard for you to judge on that 🙂